Soulforce, the Lynchburg, VA-based organization which seeks freedom for LGBT people from political and religious oppression and founded by the Reverend Mel White, friend and former ghost-writer for the Reverend Jerry Falwell, has released a statement on Falwell’s passing (not yet available online, sent via email):
Soulforce Observes the Passing of Rev. Jerry Falwell
Today, the staff and board of directors of Soulforce observe the passing of Rev. Jerry Falwell and offer our sincere condolences to his family, the members of Thomas Road Baptist Church, and the students at Liberty University.
“While Soulforce has a long history of nonviolent direct action at Jerry Falwell Ministries, our adversary was never Jerry Falwell, but rather the misinformation about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people espoused by Falwell and so many others,” said Soulforce Executive Director Jeff Lutes.
Soulforce was founded in October, 1999, when Rev. Dr. Mel White and his partner, Gary Nixon, took 200 delegates to meet with Rev. Falwell and his representatives. The purpose of the meeting was to help end hate speech and violence against sexual minorities. Prior to coming out as a gay man, White ghost wrote two books for Falwell (If I Should Die Before I Wake and Strength for the Journey).
Upon hearing the news of Rev. Falwell’s death, White said “It breaks my heart to think that Jerry died without ever discovering the truth about God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children. I sincerely hope that one day his school and his church will have a change of heart.”
Soulforce remains committed to changing hearts and minds and ending the political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
Mel White (center), Jerry Falwell (center), Gary Nixon (right)